There has been a growing concern in the Windows Phone camp as to why Samsung hasn’t released any Windows Phone 8 devices in the United States. After all, Samsung was the first OEM to announce a Windows Phone 8 flagship device, the ATIV S, way back in late August last year at IFA 2012 in Berlin.
The ATIV S was missing-in-action at the launch of Windows Phone 8 last November. Since then, there has been no words from any U.S carriers about availability of the ATIV S flagship. When there are announcements from other international carriers, the ATIV S ran into multiple setbacks and delays.
At the Windows Phone 8 launch event, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced that the mid-range Samsung ATIV Odyssey would be available on Verizon in December 2012. It is now almost the end of January and, still, no Odysseys in sight. Verizon and Samsung said on January 7th that the Odyssey will be out “in the coming weeks.” It seems as if Samsung has given up on Windows Phone.
Is there an explanation behind Samsung’s lack of involvement with Redmond? The general consensus is that Samsung has lost interest with Windows Phone due to its runaway success with Android. Samsung now controls almost fifty percent of the Android smartphone market. Last week, Samsung celebrated its one hundred millionth Galaxy S smartphone sold to date.
Industry analysts tell a different story. According to a report from The Korea Times, carriers are “intentionally less enthusiastic” about Samsung’s Windows Phone 8 devices, despite the platform’s rising attractiveness proven with the Nokia Lumia’s positive sales. Carriers are trying to prevent Samsung from dominating two ecosystems with its sheer size in the mobile market.
HMC Securities analyst Kim Sang-pyo said carriers will eventually cave into Samsung’s strong-hand demand to promote its future Windows Phone devices. Samsung is looking to diversify away from Android as it’s becoming more saturated in the market, and Windows Phone 8 is a likely potential for Samsung to continue its growth. Kim adds, “Windows Phone 8 have a great outlook as enterprise phones and can become a good revenue line for Samsung.”
Another analyst, Lee Jae-yoon of Kiwoom Securities, said mobile carriers will have to offer Windows Phones next year due to increased demands. Samsung will likely use its popular branding to pressure carriers to go along on their terms. One industry official, requesting anonymity, claims that “people don’t buy Samsung phones because they run on Android, but because it is a Samsung phone.”
The report also provides an interesting sales figure for Samsung’s Windows 8 ATIV tablets. Analysts agree that Windows 8 tablets are looking to be a competitive play for Samsung in the tablet space. In South Korea, Samsung has sold over 80,000 of its ATIV tablets. More than the Google Nexus 7 analyst says.